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What spelling curriculum to use with an advanced reader?

spelling phonics reader

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#1 MThurow

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 12:08 AM

My 6 1/2 year old's reading really took off these past few months, without much effort on my part. She learned a handful of phonograms, resisted easy readers, has strongly resisted workbooks involving handwriting practice----- and now, is reading novels. She blew through Swallows and Amazons in 2 weeks, reading portions aloud, portions silently. I am puzzled as to how she figured out how to read such an array of complex words. Now she is reading Little House on the Prairie (I read Big Woods aloud to her last year) and she is really enjoying it and has commented on how much easier it is to read than Arthur Ransome's writing, which made me chuckle.

So I have a dilemma. The child cannot spell. Going through phonics based spelling programs seems like a good idea in theory, but the ones I've looked at pre-suppose a beginning reader situation, and I fear that a program like that might be really tedious for her. She needs handwriting practice too, but I don't want to use a program that merely focuses upon dictation as a way to learn spelling, b/c I want her to have something more comprehensive and thorough. Her handwriting problems are compounded by the year she spent at Montessori learning only cursive but being presented with reading material in print, which she would then copy for copy work, without the guidance of proper print letter formation. My efforts to correct that last year annoyed and frustrated her a great deal, which probably has contributed to her resistance to any formal handwriting instruction. I am puzzled as to what to do! Thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

#2 HomeAgain

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 07:21 AM

I know you said you didn't want dictation as a way to learn spelling, but that is what really hit home here.  We tried AAS, and systematic study with an old speller, but the one that made the most difference was Dictation Day By Day.  It uses a gentle spiral to introduce new words and reinforce spelling of previously learned ones. For new words there is a list of similar or rhyming words that can be used for additional practice. I have the cards for AAS 1 and 2, so we still learn the rules, and often I'll put the applicable rule up on the whiteboard before he starts.

We used previous exercises for copywork.  "See my doll" was long enough that we could break it into three exercises to get to know letter formation (opposite problem here, he was learning cursive after print), and short enough to do all together when he didn't struggle with remembering capital S and how many humps for 'm'. 

I cannot stress enough how much we used School Rite writing guides.  They're like stencils, and the child can use them without help because there are arrows to guide formation.  They have D'nealian, ZB, and cursive available and the letters fit on standard 1st grade paper.



#3 Pegs

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:13 AM

AAS is doing the job, here. We spent a few weeks on level 1, and are currently on level 2, getting through 3-4 steps a week.

You can use the tiles a whole lot if your DD's handwriting will hold her back with the dictation exercises. My 7yo prefers to keep the board work to a minimum and just get on with the dictation. I've found it pretty easy to customise the review to DS' abilities, too, so he isn't bored even though he's working kind of below his level. I just wanted to run him all the way through *something* phonics related, for the sake of being thorough, and AAS offered the hand-holding I was seeking.

#4 4kookiekids

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:25 AM

Have you looked at Spalding? Major focus on correct letter formation, correct pronunciation, and yes, it has dictation (but only in the sense that you dictate a word and then analyze it in order to spell it), but it teaches the rules explicitly and simply. My kids love that they can sit down and get it done quickly (we do the spelling for 5-10 min a day, and additional phonogram practice about 5 more min a day). When we took a 6 month break to just spend more time reading, I noticed that my kids read a ton more but their spelling deteriorated. As soon as we started using Spalding again, spelling went right back up. I think they'd just stopped making a habit of really thinking before they wrote, and once they started thinking again, they were able to recall rules quickly and apply them easily. 

 

The beginning would be a bit simple for her, if she's reading this well, but you can tear through it pretty quickly. Once my oldest was more advanced, we took the advice in the book to start out with a "spelling test" each year, where I dictate about as many words as he can handle in one sitting (they suggest 100, but it's more like 40 a day for us), and so long as he gets them all right (including almost all the markings), we just keep going. Then we slow down a lot once we start getting to words that challenge him. This is his first year (he's turning 8 this week) that he actually has hope of finishing the *entire* list, and it's very motivating to him that if he finishes the *entire* list, he won't have spelling for the rest of the school year. :)



#5 Crimson Wife

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:50 PM

Spelling Power by Beverly Adams-Gordon is a great choice for a bright kid as it has multiple levels all in one book.



#6 okbud

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:22 AM

My precocious reader and terrible speller would melt into a puddle about writing and spelling at age 6.

 

I waited it out. At 9, now he can and does work on systematic spelling... at about 2 grade levels ahead. He writes like a fiend now and does coding as often as I let him, too, which has helped more than anything else.

 

My advice with advanced kids is when they hit a snag, especially if they get emotional about it but even if they don't, treat them like their age, not their apparent capability. YMMV


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#7 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:41 AM

I plan to do AAS. I had been considering spalding but cannot do something as teacher intensive. I plan to buy the first two levels of aas and see how it goes

#8 Crimson Wife

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 10:42 AM

I plan to do AAS. I had been considering spalding but cannot do something as teacher intensive. I plan to buy the first two levels of aas and see how it goes

 

I used levels 1-6 of AAS with my 2nd child and Spalding with my oldest. They are both very teacher-intensive programs.

 

Where AAS has an advantage over Spalding is the scripted TM. Spalding (at least the old edition I used back over a decade ago) is not at all user-friendly.


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#9 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

I used levels 1-6 of AAS with my 2nd child and Spalding with my oldest. They are both very teacher-intensive programs.

Where AAS has an advantage over Spalding is the scripted TM. Spalding (at least the old edition I used back over a decade ago) is not at all user-friendly.


By teacher intensive, I meant the non-scripted or planned lessons. I know both require you to sit and teach the lesson, but for me the fact that aas has planned lessons is a hue benefit.

#10 4kookiekids

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 05:09 AM

By teacher intensive, I meant the non-scripted or planned lessons. I know both require you to sit and teach the lesson, but for me the fact that aas has planned lessons is a hue benefit.

 

I'm curios what you mean by Spalding not having a planned lesson? The lesson plan to me seems very simple: teach the next (blank number) of words each day. Review the last (blank) words. Review (blank number) of phonograms each day. I've never done AAS or any other spelling, so I have nothing to compare it to! I'm just curious, because the "plan" seems completely straight-forward to me, so I'd love to hear more from you! :)



#11 HomeAgain

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 06:25 AM

By teacher intensive, I meant the non-scripted or planned lessons. I know both require you to sit and teach the lesson, but for me the fact that aas has planned lessons is a hue benefit.

 

 

Um,you're going to run into this in AAS.  Sorry.  The lessons are not really planned.  I mean, a series of lessons is planned in each book, but often the directions are 'work for as long as needed on this lesson before moving on" or "you may work on lessons 2, 3, and 4 concurrently."  I mean, level 1 only has something like 20 lessons in it.



#12 Crimson Wife

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:09 AM

I'm curios what you mean by Spalding not having a planned lesson? The lesson plan to me seems very simple: teach the next (blank number) of words each day. Review the last (blank) words. Review (blank number) of phonograms each day. I've never done AAS or any other spelling, so I have nothing to compare it to! I'm just curious, because the "plan" seems completely straight-forward to me, so I'd love to hear more from you! :)

 

I don't know which edition of WRTR you are using (I have heard newer ones are way more user-friendly than the older one I used with my oldest) but I did not find it open-and-go the way AAS is. The AAS manual is scripted and the hardest part about it was just gathering the supplies. Love AAS in terms of ease of use.
 



#13 greenfields

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:33 AM

Our child (age 4) absorbed "whole language" after hearing us say words.  Our child loved symbols, especially car symbols, identifying every car (logo and name) on the road and remembering about every Hot Wheels car in his collection of 1000 cars.  He was even reading some of the mail, hundreds of Hot Wheels packages, toy catalogs, etc.  

 

Then I read about the importance of writing, how such fine motor skills improve our memory.

 

So, when son was 5, because of my error in not regularly implementing writing and phonics earlier, I began AlphaPhonics - easy and simple book with word patterns (no diacritical marks or syllables).  Writing was not easy for young hands, but we managed.  We began with simple words (cat, hat) which worked well for beginner hands.  Then we switched to cursive because he yearned to learn cursive.

 

At age 6, I introduced some diacritical marks, syllables, root words, prefixes, suffixes, definition of vowels vs. consonants, etc. - mainly from my own notes of word patterns that we encounter or need to learn.

 

At age 6.5, our child's reading comprehension is that of a 6.5-year-old child.  However, he can spell fairly well (because of regular writing and phonics) and decode most of the New Yorker and the Constitution (cursive).  We tried a paragraph of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, not because we want more history (we actually want science), but just to practice decoding (to break away from whole language tendencies).  

 

Cursive handwriting isn't perfect because our child is developing fine motor skills, but writing has helped us immensely.  We began with simple words which suited little hands.  

 

In the end, we both prefer the delight of picture books (which I love to collect and love more than chapter books).  

 

 

 

 


Edited by greenfields, 14 August 2017 - 04:04 PM.


#14 4kookiekids

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:52 AM

I don't know which edition of WRTR you are using (I have heard newer ones are way more user-friendly than the older one I used with my oldest) but I did not find it open-and-go the way AAS is. The AAS manual is scripted and the hardest part about it was just gathering the supplies. Love AAS in terms of ease of use.
 

 

Hmm. I suppose I can see what you mean by it not being open-and-go, in the sense that I had to read the book a few times to really absorb all the information (4th edition, so older - came with an lp for teaching phonogram sounds... lol). But now that I've ALREADY absorbed that information, I find it very open-and-go. Thanks for answering!



#15 ThoughtfulMama

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Posted Yesterday, 02:36 PM

Mine also learned to read whole-word and never really learned phonics UNTIL he started spelling in first grade.  As soon as he figured out the phonics rules (which was really fast compared to how long it takes an emerging reader), then his teacher switched out his spelling for more difficulty.  I don't have a curriculum to suggest, but I just wanted to add in that phonics CAN be taught after reading is already established.





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